Alt-country singer-songwriter Hallie Pritts had a few questions as she stepped off a plane in Berlin last December: "I was like, ‘Is this insane? What am I doing?'"
She was meeting a friend from college, a French electronic musician and producer named Jules Etienne, to write and record an album. She had nothing but a head full of songs and an address scribbled in her notebook.
Pritts, the frontwoman for Pittsburgh-based alt-country band Boca Chica, had reached out last fall to Etienne, whom she met years ago while studying abroad at Philipps-Universität Marburg. (He lives in Germany.) The two agreed to work on a project together under the name Winter Wedding Party. She had written most of the songs for the album in the month leading up to her trip, but with Etienne's background in electronic music, the details of the collaboration were very much in question.
Fast-forward 10 days and Pritts is on her way home and the album is done. In that short time, the duo had found a way to deconstruct the folk songs she had written. Experimenting with Etienne's collection of vintage synths and jamming at all hours of the day and night, the two ended up with nine playful and compelling tracks that reflect a wide range of influences.
At one particularly surprising point about halfway through the album, a slower folk track fades out and strong Italo-disco beats come in totally out of left field. "I remember, Jules asked me, ‘How do you feel about Italo-disco?'" recalls Pritts. "And I was like, ‘I have no idea what that is.'"
But the song fits in seamlessly with the rest of the album, and highlights the playful openness of the musicians. "I think it is perfectly possible to make folk songs and/or nu-disco tracks without any artistic contradiction," Etienne said in an email to CP. This record is proof of that, with every song sounding different than the one before it, but all working together to create an engaging snapshot of those 10 days.
The future of the project remains unclear. "I feel like it's a miracle that we even got together to make this album," says Pritts. But, as was the case with the production style of Winter Wedding Party, she's not ruling anything out.
More at: www.facebook.com/winterweddingparty